GREENSBORO. N.C. (WGHP) – There are only three cities in the United States with more churches per capita than there are in Greensboro.
There are nearly 9,000 churches in North Carolina by some estimates, and several hundred of them are in Guilford County. Bestplaces.net estimates that about 49.6% of Greensboro residents consider themselves religious, which is a slightly higher rate than statewide residents or those from the Greensboro-High Point metro area as a whole.
Birmingham ranked No. 1 for the highest percentage of Christian population, and Orlando led the list for most flower and gift shops per capita and was No. 5 for most candy and chocolate stores per capita.
That was a finding from data analyzed by WalletHub, the online credit site that extracts and analyzes information to tell us about our lives. In its annual Easter Survey – or Best Places to Celebrate Easter – Greensboro’s church-to-person ratio was surpassed by only Birmingham, Ala., Newark, N.J., and Orlando, Fla.
Birmingham is also No. 2 overall on WalletHub’s list of Best Places to Celebrate Easter, and Orlando is No. 3. Pittsburgh, Pa., was No. 1, and in the top 10 after Orlando were Cincinnati, St. Louis, Cleveland, Buffalo, N.Y., El Paso, New Orleans and Honolulu.
Greensboro ranked 49th among the best places – although 18th for Easter Observers – which was close to Raleigh (No. 42) and Charlotte (No. 45). Winston-Salem came in at No. 69.
WalletHub came up with this list by aggregating rankings in four categories: Easter Observers, Easter Traditions, Kids’ Easter and Easter Weather. As usual, the data was weighted and ranked to come up with an aggregate score.
For instance, Greensboro ranked so high in Easter Observers because the ratio of churches per capita is so significant.
North Carolina, by the way, is one of 10 states that offer Good Friday as an extension of the Easter holiday, with all government offices and schools closed (most of them are on one portion of spring break), and some local governments elect to close on Monday, too, as a celebration of Easter.
An important celebration
This was all part of WalletHub’s greater analysis of the entire process of the Easter celebration. For instance, Easter is the day of greatest religious significance to Christians, research shows, and roughly 63% of Americans classify themselves as Christians.
About 15% more of us say we will celebrate Easter this year, and we plan to spend about 45% more on Easter than we did last year.
Those Christians use Easter as a key day to donate to churches – although most Americans say they would prefer to give to causes such as supporting Ukraine than to the coffers of churches, and young people are more likely to donate than those 59 and older – and we spend a lot on the peripherals of the celebration, such as clothing, candy and gifts for children and the makings for an Easter dinner.
In fact, WalletHub estimates that we will spend $20.8 billion on all our Easter endeavors this year, which is about $170 per person who celebrates. And about $3 billion of that is on candy, $3.4 billion is on clothing, $6.6 billion is on food, and $3.4 billion is on gifts.
Traditions and fun facts
About 6 in 10 parents say they still are carrying on the Easter traditions of their childhood – the services, clothes and candy-filled baskets – and that same ratio said they will send their kids easter baskets even after they’ve moved out of the house.
Those are just a couple of a huge collection of data by WalletHub that offers all sorts of insights, such as:
- There are 91 million chocolate bunnies sold each year at Easter, and about 8 in 10 of us admit that we eat the ears first. The largest one in his story weighted more than 4.5 tons (but the largest chocolate egg was nearly 8 tons, or the weight of the average adult male elephant).
- There are enough jellybeans consumed – about 16 billion – to circle the globe three times. We prefer our eggs to be filled with caramel, peanut butter or chocolate ganache, and fewer than 1 in 5 of us like those hollow bunnies.
- There are now 24 flavors of marshmallow Peeps, and we will consume more than 1.5 billion this year.